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This is a wonderfully funny story, affectionately parodying old-time
musicals, and evoking a nostalgic regret that they are not being made any
more. Some of the vocalizations are amateurish (Alan Alda is an exception)
but Dick Hyman's musical arrangements and the performances of the
are fine. Alda's rendition of the old Cole Porter song "Thinking of You",
accompanied by the marvelous Dick Hyman on the piano, is first rate.
Woody Allen provides many hilarious moments. He uses the great violinist Itzhak Perlman as the punch line to a carefully constructed gag. He uses the invasion of privacy of a session of psychoanalysis as an offbeat plot device. He satirizes the romantic young and the do-gooding impulses of the old. He takes us from Manhattan to Venice and Paris. He involves us in old tunes and comically elaborate dance routines. He gives us a good time.
Everyone Says I Love You is one of the very few movies I have ever gone back to the theater to see another time. I even bought the tape.
In an old fashioned musical, the loves and losses of an extended upper-class
family in Manhattan are followed in song from NY to Paris and
The company logo comes onscreen followed closely by the white title on a black background. Seconds later we are into the first song as two young lovers walk in the park - and it's not until 100 minutes later that it lets you go again. The plot is nothing more than lots of strands of love and loss tied together by family connections. None of the stories really have any great significance but are backed up by wit and some charming song and dance numbers. This is whimsy at it's very best.
It feels like Woody Allen has really relaxed and is making films that hark back to an older age - indeed his usual style is tuned down a little to make it more accessible and more enjoyable. He has several black characters, his humour is witty but less cruel than usual and his narrative is driven by a teenage girl rather than himself. It feels so free of his usual cynicism that it adds to the weightless charm it already has. He handles the song and dance scene with such vigour and such imagination that you find yourself wondering why he hasn't done a musical before.
The superb cast all catch the charm and light feel perfectly. Not all of them are great singers but they all do well and give their best (except Barrymore who refused and was dubbed). The usual stars are complimented by plenty of well known faces - Alda, Goldie Hawn, Lucas Haas, Portman, Tim Roth, Roberts and of course the wonderful Edward Norton.
This is 100 minutes of lightweight wonder. It has no rough edges, no difficult issues, no cruel jokes and very little swearing. Only the coldest heart could fail to warm to this little charmer.
I must say that musicals don't really appeal to me, maybe it's because I'm young and am accustomed to more action and special effects from today's typical style... but this movie totally surprised me! The star cast including Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts is what initially allured me to give this movie a chance and I'm glad I did. Now I know why Woody Allen is considered a genius. I mean I've seen parts of some of his earlier films and they didn't really draw me in either, but this one is truly a winner. Woody Allen chose his cast well, he obviously has a good sense of judgement in that area. The music and singing was actually a welcoming change for a film. I never thought I would like a musical so much. Each character's life was perfectly intertwined with all the others and the plot moved along in an up-tempo beat. It was also nice to be brought to France & Italy via cinematography. It seemed musicals were somewhat of a trend the year this film came out (1996), because that's also when "Romeo & Juliet" starring Leonardo DiCaprio surfaced too. It was a good turn of events to educate younger generations (like myself) into appreciating a more old-fashioned genre of film that was almost extinct until this film came along and rebirthed it.
So, Everyone Says I Love You is pretty much the typical Woody Allen
comedy, complete with all the staples that define his oeuvre; lots of
neurotic characters, a performance from the man himself, New York
City...only this time, there's one big difference - it's also a
musical. It's well known that Woody Allen is a big fan of cinema, and
therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that this film is Allen's
tribute to the classic musicals of yesteryear. Everyone Says I Love You
is typically Woody Allen in spite of the obvious difference in genre to
the rest of his movies. I'm not a fan of musicals, and if I were to be
overly critical of this film; I would say that it would have been
better as a straight comedy-drama, without the musical element.
However, it's the musical side of the piece that gives it it's unique
edge, and dropping that from the film would have ensured that it isn't
the movie that Allen wanted it to be. Not to mention the fact that the
musical side of the movie makes it striking in the way that only Woody
Allen can be.
For this film, Woody Allen has put together a terrific cast. Of course, a number of stars is part of Allen's trademark, but I think he outdid himself with the cast of this movie, which includes the likes of Edward Norton, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Tim Roth, Natasha Lyonne and Alan Alda. Not to mention Woody himself. I'm not a fan of all of those film stars, but seeing a number of familiar faces in a movie together is always a treat for a movie buff. The song and dance sequences in the film aren't all that well put together, as the songs are largely unimaginative and the film fails on the whole to capture the grandeur of the classic musical. However, the drama side of the movie is very strong; and as usual, Woody's script is funny, touching and obscure in equal measure. He's given himself the best part, and has most of the other characters commenting on how great he is, but Woody Allen without a huge ego just isn't Woody Allen. I don't rate this as a movie at the very peak of Allen's filmography, but it's a strong one and it's recommended to his fans.
High camp and high neuroses in the same picture.
If you get everything you ever wanted, you still aren't satisfied because your own fantasies can never be truly fulfilled in the real world. It's kind of what Woody Allen is saying by making this movie into a goofy musical. It's his own fantasy of what movies used to be like, but can't ever be anymore. The small touches of realism, like the grocery store heist or the homeless man breaking out into song provide both humor and a commentary on how unsubstantial and irrelevant musicals are. But aren't they fun?
The most obvious example of the theme is the Julia Roberts storyline. She gets everything she ever wanted, but instead of making her happy in her new life, it helps her therapy for her old life. Joe was married to Steffi, all the woman he ever wanted, but he was so afraid it would fall apart that it did fall apart. Skylar wants a man to take control and sweep her off her feet, but when Charles Ferry comes along and does just that, she can't live with the consequences. There are other examples.
The execution of the movie is awkward and sometimes off-putting. But this movie is an experiment in form x function - what kind of story lends itself to the musical form? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. For example, it used to be that musicals helped you into the mood by introducing songs, something that couldn't be done here because of the very nature of the story. It can be stagey and forced if you're not already in the mood. On the whole, however, everyone seems to be having a good time, and it shows up in mostly loose, endearing performances - even the ever-annoying Goldie Hawn, who I'd normally want to toss in the river in any other movie.
A fresh and original musical comedy, the film takes classic songs and fits them into a new vision with some different dance routines. The choreography is lively and the actors and actresses do not look like professional dancers, which helps to make the music and dance side more natural. It is still as witty and funny as one would expect from a Woody Allen comedy, and the ensemble cast brings forth some great performances, even from actresses such as Goldie Hawn and Drew Barrymore who are not usually amazing. Other than light commentary on love and romance in New York and international society, the film is lacking in depth, some of the sequences are overdone and the narration tires as it progresses, but generally the film is well made. It also possesses a charm that helps it to swing along, and it becomes easy to accept different sequences, given that it is a musical that one is watching. The film will however best be enjoyed by those who are familiar with its redone songs.
Aside from a couple of liabilities, which I'll mention a little further
down this review, this is top-notch Woody Allen, a work that gives as
many delights as his earlier work, but is also marvelous in that it's
an experiment for him. How can a filmmaker combine his usual- by 96
usual anyway- with relationships that go up and down, end and start,
and neuroses floating around like it's nothing, AND with the escapism
of the musicals of the 30s and 40s that Allen obviously adores deeply?
Somehow it all works pretty much to classic Allen effect, where there's
a level of sharp wit, but there's also that added element of life being
wonderful enough even when things seem at their lowest. The story goes
into several directions, with a narrator (Natasha Lyonne) filling in
the gaps of a family and their turbulent relationships. She D.J.
Berlin, biological daughter of Joe (Allen), and technical step-daughter
of Bob (Alda) who's married to Steffi (Goldie Hawn), her real mother.
He lives in Paris, and on vacation Joe suddenly becomes involved with
Von Sidell (Julia Roberts) after getting advice from DJ (she listens to
all of her confessions to a psychiatrist through a wall) so he has all
of the moves to make it the perfect relationship. Meanwhile, her sister
Skylar (Barrymore) is engaged to Holden (Edward Norton), but things
become complicated via parolee Charles Fery (Tim Roth). And meanwhile,
DJ goes from man to man, almost getting engaged, and then falling for a
guy in a Taxi Cab...
And so on. All the while Allen injects the perfect whimsical tone and sweetness of all of those great, 'un-real' musicals of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Occasionally an actor might sing and not sound too right (aside from Barrymore, whom one can definitely tell a difference, they all sing their songs)- Roberts being one of them- but it's really amazing to see such talented actors have naturally apt ways into singing. And why not, after all, as many of us would love to just go right into a song we like on a dime. Some highlights for me were the Norton songs, "Just You, Just Me" and "My Baby Cares Just For Me", the Tim Roth number "If I Had You", and very surprisingly by a group of the 'un-dead' via D.J.'s grandfather played by Patrick Cranshaw (likely the only time Allen's had this much visual effects going on). And, of course, even Allen breaks into a soft tune of wanting affection too. But it would be just one thing if the songs were very joyful and made the audience happy- there's always, even in the bits that still ring with the realistic dialog of Allen's relationship tragic-comedies- it's also got very funny moments. The moment Roth pops up is one, or when Joe tries to use his 'knowledge' on Roberts's character, and the Marx brothers number is almost *too* good.
Aside from the oddly voiced narration from Natasha Lyonne (not a bad performance at all, but for some reason the narration sounds just off for me), and a couple of exceptions, Everyone Says I Love You provides for a truly serene time in Woody Allen's ouevere, a collection of old-time numbers (and maybe some new ones) that combine the beauty in the cities we see (New York, Paris, Venice) with a subject that has wonderfully dogged the director for the bulk of his career- what does it mean to fall in love, or to lose love, or to find it again even in the smallest measures- and not without some mixing of politics and neuroses.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Woody Allen made a musical comedy with some romance in 1996.The movie's called Everyone Says I Love You and it tells about the Dandridge family living in New York.Alan Alda is the father Bob, Goldie Hawn is the mother Steffi, Lukas Haas is the son Scott, the daughters are Laura (Natalie Portman), Lane (Gaby Hoffman), Skylar (Drew Barrymore), stepdaughter D.J (Natasha Lyonne)and Patrick Cranshaw is the grandpa.Allen plays the neurotic ex-husband Joe Berlin, who has no luck in love.He becomes, at least for a while, a man of the dreams for Von(Julia Roberts).Edward Norton plays Holden Spence, who wants to marry Skylar.The happiness breaks for short amount of time, when Skylar is introduced to ex-jailbird Charles Ferry (Tim Roth).The movie goes from N.Y to Venice and Paris.All great places, too bad I've never been to any one of them.All of the actors do terrific job in the movie.The music is wonderful.Not only by the great violin player Itzhak Perlman, who's also seen in the movie, but the actors show us some great skills in singing.This movie has been made like the old musicals were made, where actors would start singing all of the sudden.That's just great, gives the old times' kind of feeling.That's not something you can see in movies these days, but ten years ago Woody brought back that world, that magical world with lovely tunes.I guess you can expect anything from Woody.
Woody Allen, one of my absolute favorite film directors, goes against
the grain of his normal outings with a very creative cinematic device
which involves making a bright, happy musical that takes the course of
a normal film starring actors who've never sung before singing with
their normal voices in musical numbers with no truly professional
dancers. With this vastly fun element of the movie, Allen shows us life
if any old person broke out into song. And that is what makes it an
even more pleasant and encouraging escape that many other normal
One has never before looked at a cast the same way. I wonder what reviews were like. I can say that Alan Alda, who's always fun, has one of the very best voices in the film and even plays the piano. The same goes for Goldie Hawn, who apparently was scared to death of singing in the film. She's also still extremely hot. Julia Roberts plays a very very serious role and never sings, but it was definitely interesting to observe what she and Woody are like on screen together. He carries the scenes, and she loyally follows. Natascha Lyonne is the definite highlight of the cast, playing a hyperconfident girl in that midpoint between girl and woman whose flights of fancy make her extremely fickle with men. Edward Norton, one of the best contemporary actors we have, is actually not at his best in this film. It feels like he just doesn't know how to get comfortable in his role. His voice is OK. Billy Crudup, in a small role, is actually quite unexpectedly funny in a little number in a cab with a Middle Eastern driver. Tim Roth, an unexpected addition to the bit players like Crudup, has a great non- singing role that recalls the genre he's been working in for most of his career.
Where a lot of musicals repel most people because of their agonizingly featherweight stories, this one does what a great musical is supposed to do, which is lift your spirits and make you feel the very deepest potential of life's beauty that can possibly be pulled out of it, and because of Allen's unorthodox method, it nails it. It's one of my favorite musicals, of which there are few. It's a very interesting ensemble epic that involves all different strands pertaining to the love life and newfound wisdom of each member of a wealthy and happy family.
Not just any filmmaker should be entrusted with the delicate and precarious genre of the musical. Woody Allen would probably be the last person I'd expect to see work up a musical. He's gotten a lot more experimental in some of his more recent works, so it's of no surprise. I think what makes this film work is in its charm and the love of 30's musicals that is behind it. This really is an ode to the old black and white musicals and to the classic love stories of the same period. Now, on the level of Woody Allen's catalog, this one does not rank very high, but in comparison to television shows that have the occasional musical episode, this one hits its mark. The reason I mention the last comment is because there are some actors in here that never would they be expected to sing in a film. Maybe they shouldn't have, but there is just a lot of love behind this production that you've just gotta smile.
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